The new Nissan Pulsar has generous interior space, is comfortable and easy to drive. DAVID HOOPER has been finding out how this sizeable family car copes with a 1.2-litre engine.
THE new Nissan Pulsar is the Japanese manufacturer’s Golf or Focus sized contender which replaced the Almera.
With a long wheelbase it offers plenty of interior legroom which is currently best in class and a boon for long-legged teenage rear passengers who have to travel in the family car, despite their persistent protestations.
The Nissan Pulsar looks very smart and is attractively styled featuring Nissan’s latest styling cues including the distinctive new grille and the front valance trimmed with smart chrome-effect inserts, while at the back there’s some sporty carbon fibre trim at the lower edge of the rear bumper which seems almost unnecessary on a family car like this.
Our mid-range Acenta spec test car sits on smart 16in diamond cut alloy wheels which finish off the look admirably, but the large square fuel filler flap drew several comments from friends who gave the car the once-over and were unimpressed by its apparently unnecessarily large proportions.
The boot is a good size and more than capable of coping with family clutter and the weekly shop, while the rear seats will fold down in a 60/40 split to extend the boot space when required.
Inside there is plenty of grey trim with little chrome trim to break it up, other than on the ends of the heater vents, the gearlever and a small piece of centre console trim.
Interior storage space is excellent around the cabin with a large glove box, itself something of a rarity on many modern motors, combined with generous door pockets and an overhead sunglasses compartment. The centre console is home to a USB socket, a 3mm jack and a 12V accessory socket – great for keeping your phone topped up while you’re out and about.
The instrumentation is clear and a multifunction steering wheel allows you to control the cruise control, telephone operation and music systems without having to remove your hands from the steering wheel.
On the road the Nissan Pulsar drives very nicely, with a soft compliant dumper set-up which leads to a comfortable ride for the passengers.
Our test car didn’t feature parking sensors as part of the standard inventory, so care had to be taken when manoeuvring into tight spaces when we are now so used to having a bit of help as standard on many cars of this genre.
The 1197cc engine is a willing performer and is mated to a six-speed gearbox, but because of its small size and the fact that it only develops 190Nm of torque means regular gear changes are needed to keep the car moving progressively, especially in undulating countryside.
Economy is quite good – during my test of around 750 miles, mostly with a good mix of passengers and luggage on board, the car achieved an average of 42.9mpg – some way off the official combined figure of 56.5mpg. It’s CO2 emissions are very respectable at 117g/km while this Pulsar has a potential top speed of 118mph.
The 0-62mph time of 10.7 seconds isn’t going to win many traffic lights grands prix, but is impressive enough for what is a small 1.2-litre engine in quite a sizeable car. The Pulsar in this guise has to be worked reasonably hard to find its best performance, but it is more than adequate for a car of this class and the type of life most examples will lead.
All-in-all, the new Nissan Pulsar is a credible contender in this fiercely fought over sector of the market and is well worth consideration if you are looking for a practical and comfortable family car which is economical and well priced.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Nissan Pulsar 1.2 DIG-T 115.
ENGINE: 1197cc, 115PS four-cylinder petrol engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 118mph. 0-62mph in 10.7 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 44.8mpg.
Wheel World test average: 42.9mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 117g/km.
FUEL TANK: 46 litres.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.